11/15/2001 12:00AM

Tails of the Crypt out for a happy ending

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Tails of the Crypt has been anything but a horror story in his first campaign for trainer John Ross and the Jam Jar Racing Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds.

In fact, Tails of the Crypt already qualifies as a sweet success and will be looking to put a pleasant exclamation point on his first year at the races when he starts Saturday at Woodbine in the in $112,500 Display Stakes.

"He's coming up to the race the way I like a horse to come up to a race," said Ross, who has sent out Tails of the Crypt to win two of five starts and $77,692, including an allowance victory over a mile and 70 yards of slop here last time out. "I think he deserves a shot."

Tails of the Crypt, originally purchased for $4,500 at Fasig-Tipton October sale in Kentucky, went through the ring at the 2-year-olds in training sale here this April but did not meet his $55,000 reserve. Following the sale, he was purchased privately by Ross on behalf of the Reynoldses.

"I was really happy to get him," Ross said. "The key to this horse is his lovely conformation; he's like a little tank."

After finishing fifth when he made his debut over six furlongs of slop here Aug. 19, Tails of the Crypt missed by a nose in a one-mile turf race and then graduated over seven furlongs on a fast main track.

Tails of the Crypt next made his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Grey, a 1 1/16 mile race in which he finished a closing but nonthreatening sixth in a field of 13, before bouncing back for his rallying score Nov. 2.

"I'm very happy to have him in the barn," said Ross. "He's not foaled in Canada but he's very versatile; he's run well on turf, and in the mud. He been effective at a mile and a sixteenth, and he'll go even farther. He's going to be pretty useful in the future."

One would hope that future would not include the tongue-twisting prospect of a meeting between Tails of the Crypt and Tailfromthecrypt, a 3-year-old colt who won his maiden at Aqueduct last Sunday.

Florida camp has promising juveniles

Tails of the Crypt is one of more than 20 horses who will winter with John Ross at his regular off-season base, Classic Mile Farm in Ocala, Fla.

"We'll freshen him up a bit, and he'll resume training in Florida," said Ross.

That same program also is on the boards for Shaws Creek and Wild Whiskey, a pair of 2-year-old colts who demonstrated plenty of potential for Ross here this season.

Shaws Creek, a $60,000 buy at the select local yearling sale, also is owned by Jam Jar.

By Tejano Run out of the Akureyri mare, Lady Gretchen, Shaws Creek won two of four starts and $155,748 and became a stakes winner in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon. His campaign came to a close after the Sept. 3 Simcoe, a seven-furlong race in which he ended a well-beaten fourth.

"He finished up the year okay," said Ross. "I just wanted to turn him out, and save him for a 3-year-old."

Wild Whiskey, purchased for $72,000 at the local select yearling sale, races for neophyte owners Gary Wellwood and Larry Titchner.

By Whiskey Wisdom out of the Vice Regent mare, Lover's Talk, Wild Whiskey is a half-brother to stakes-winning sprinters Torrid Affair and Love Grows.

Wild Whiskey already had created a buzz in the mornings when he debuted at six furlongs here Nov. 3. And he lived up to his high-octane billing, screeching through fractions of 21.33, 44.24, 56.70 seconds before prevailing by a length in 1:11.23.

"You don't get to saddle 2-year-olds like him very often," said Ross. "And he bucked a shin in the race, too."

Ross points out that Wild Whiskey was a late-May foal yet is a noticeably large horse, which makes his precocity all the more remarkable.

"The exciting thing about him is that he's Ontario-sired, and foaled in Canada," said the trainer.

Yet another of the Ross string, Indian Dan, winner of the Vice Regent here this summer for the R M C Stable of Syd Cooper and family, should be looking to wind up his year on a satisfying note here in the Nov. 24 Sir Barton Stakes.

The $125,000 Sir Barton is a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Rare Friends may try Aqueduct stakes

Rare Friends worked five furlongs in a black-letter 1:00.60 on the main track Thursday morning and is a candidate for next the Nov. 25 Huntington Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Huntington is a $75,000, six-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

"We nominated him, and we're going to make a decision next week," said trainer Bob Tiller, who also is a co-owner of the 2-year-old gelding along with Frank DiGiulio.

Rare Friends won his first four starts, including three stakes, before coming up short stretching out in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Other prominent names on the main track tab included What a Breeze, who breezed four furlongs in 49.60 seconds under regular rider Jake Barton.

"We were pretty happy with that, going by herself," said Earl Barnett, who trains What a Breeze for owner/breeder Stand Dodson.

What a Breeze, who won her maiden in her last outing, will be one of the choices here in next Sunday's $135,000 Ontario Lassie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Wynyard, another recent graduate who is nominated to the Lassie, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 for trainer Josie Carroll.

Inspired Kiss, a candidate for Wednesday's $100,000 Classy 'n Smart, worked six furlongs in 1:14 for trainer Tom O' Keefe. The $100,000 Classy 'n Smart is at 1 1/16 miles, for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Nearctic book hits the shelves

"Dark Horse," the latest offering from author Muriel Lennox, is scheduled for Saturday release.

Subtitled "Unraveling the Mystery of Nearctic", the book explores the story of Canadian star Nearctic, sire of Northern Dancer, and his trainer, Pete McCann.

Lennox's other books include "Northern Dancer: The Legend and his Legacy" and "E.P. Taylor: A Horseman and his Horses."